Department of Health

Coronavirus update for Victoria - 15 July 2022

15/07/22

COVID-19 Data

There are 749 COVID-19 cases in hospital in Victoria – with 31 active cases in ICU, including 8 on a ventilator, and an additional 4 cleared cases in ICU.

6,293,404 vaccine doses have been administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services.

68.7 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 94.7 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had 2 doses.

10,584 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded yesterday. This includes 7,667 who tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and 2,917 who returned a positive result on a PCR test.

Sadly, the Department was notified of 17 deaths yesterday of people aged in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The total number of deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began is 4,148. The number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in Victoria so far this year is 2537.

There are 60,729 active cases in Victoria. 

15,427 PCR tests were processed yesterday. The total number of PCR tests performed in Victoria since the pandemic began is 21,603,125.

Updates

Third Omicron wave with BA.4/BA.5 now dominant in Victoria

The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are now dominant along the east coast of Australia, are expected to continue to cause increases in new cases, reinfections and hospital admissions – with an 83 per cent increase in the number of Victorians in hospital with COVID-19 over the last 3 weeks.

The rate of BA.4/BA.5 in clinical genomic surveillance and metropolitan and regional wastewater catchments continues to rise significantly. BA.4/BA.5 have become the dominant strains in clinical genomic samples, rising to 70 per cent in the 2 weeks prior to 8 July. The BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineages were first identified in Victorian wastewater catchments in April and have since risen from under 5 per cent in late May to an average of 66 per cent across all catchments by 4 July.

New infections and admissions to hospital with COVID-19 are increasing in Victoria, consistent with national and international trends. This is because the strains have a greater ability than BA.2 to evade immunity provided by vaccination and earlier COVID-19 infection. There is no evidence at this stage that the BA.4/BA.5 sub-lineages causes more severe disease but the Department continues to closely monitor the situation.

This 3rd wave of the Omicron variant is expected to peak in August. The impact of this can be reduced through immediate preventative measures and community actions.   

COVID advice for Victorians to stay well in winter

The Victorian Government is providing Victorians with more advice about how they can protect themselves and their families this winter, with enhanced communications, community engagement and outreach, and support for business to keep customers and workers safe and their doors open.

A significant new investment will boost public health messaging and engagement efforts with the community to encourage third and fourth COVID-19 vaccination doses, flu vaccination, the importance of staying home when unwell and testing for COVID-19, the benefits of wearing a mask and maximizing ventilation indoors. The Stay Well in Winter campaign will run across TV, radio, outdoor and digital channels.

More information can be found at COVID advice for Victorians to stay well in winter

Update to pandemic orders

Sensible changes to pandemic orders and public health recommendations came into effect at 11:59pm on Tuesday 12 July, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure Victorians are aware of proactive steps they can take to look after themselves and each other.

In line with AHPPC advice, the period when someone is considered a recently confirmed case (and therefore exempt from testing and isolation/quarantine requirements) has been revised to 4 weeks (28 days from the end of their isolation date), down from 12 weeks. This reflects the emerging evidence that new variants of COVID-19 can evade prior immunity gained from infection.

Positive cases are still required to isolate for 7 days from the day they took their test but an additional reason to leave home has been added – to provide transport for a household member to obtain food, if essential. The infected person will need to remain in the car and wear a face covering at all times.

There are no changes to current face mask requirements in the pandemic orders. Mask wearing in indoor and crowded settings is strongly recommended to protect yourself and our most vulnerable Victorians through winter. 

Wearing masks when indoors outside your home helps protect yourself, your family, and your community. It will also protect our health system and support our front-line healthcare workers, by reducing COVID-19 cases in the community and reducing pressure on GP practices and our hospitals. Every Victorian who wears a mask when out and about is helping our healthcare workers. 

The Minister for Health is also requesting that employers consider working from home arrangements that are most appropriate for their workplace and employees based on individual requirements.

More information can be found at COVID advice for Victorians to stay well in winter

Winter dose COVID-19 vaccinations

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) last week expanded the eligibility criteria for winter doses to help reduce severe illness from COVID-19.

The winter COVID-19 dose is recommended for adults aged 50 to 64 and is now available for adults aged 30 to 49 years.

You can receive the winter dose 3 months after your third dose or after being infected with COVID-19, if the infection has occurred since your third dose.

To find a vaccination provider near you, use the Australian Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder

Victoria’s state-run vaccination centres are now targeted to ensure support remains available for Victorians and communities most at risk of serious illness from COVID-19, such as people aged 65 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 and over, people with compromised immunity and people with a disability. 

Appointments at state vaccination centres can be booked online at Get vaccinated

Access to COVID-19 treatments

The Australian Government has expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral treatments on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to all people aged over 70 who test positive to COVID, people aged over 50 with 2 or more risk factors for severe disease and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 30 with 2 or more risk factors for severe disease.

Immunocompromised people over 18 may also be eligible. More information can be found at COVID-19 treatments

These antiviral medications, if taken early (within 5 days of symptoms), reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, make the need for hospitalisation less likely, and reduce the risk of loss of life from COVID-19. See more information at COVID-19 Medicines

See your GP or medical practitioner to determine if you are eligible and to develop a treatment plan for when you test positive. If you develop symptoms, get tested as soon as you can. If you test positive, see your GP, a nurse practitioner or GP respiratory clinic to access the appropriate medication.

To access the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Victoria, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website or call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can also call the Victorian Aboriginal COVID Information Line on 1800 312 911. Callers will speak with Aboriginal staff who can answer questions about COVID-19 and direct them to relevant support services. The information line is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.

Reviewed 15 July 2022

Health.vic

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